Best Brains Exchanges 2018

Best Brains Exchanges (BBEs) are in-camera sessions. As a result, not all Best Brains Exchange topics and presenters are listed here. The following information is being shared with consent.

For more information on any of the past Best Brains Exchanges listed below please contact


  • Current Best Practices in Chronic Disease Prevention, Self-Management and Care: How Does this Translate into a Community Based Model?

    Hosted in collaboration with the Government of Northwest Territories and the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research

    Like the rest of Canada, the Northwest Territories (NWT) currently faces the reality of an aging population. With this aging population, the burden of chronic disease is expected to grow.  To effectively reduce the burden of chronic disease in NWT, it must take into account the unique geography and cultural diversity. Through this Best Brains Exchange, the Government of Northwest Territories explored how other jurisdictions that have addressed similar challenges and discuss the inclusion of traditional culture and community based practices into chronic disease prevention. 

    More information on the objectives of this BBE, a summary of the evidence presented and a list of recommended readings.


  • Ecological and Human Health Fate and Effects of Microplastic Pollution

    Hosted in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada


    • Frank Kelly, Director, the Environmental Research Group, King's College London
    • Chelsea Rochman, Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto
    • Jutta Tentschert, Senior Researcher, Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, Germany
    • Nathalie Tufenkji, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, McGill University


    • Vince Verlaan, MODUS Planning, Design & Engagement
  • Establishing methods to monitor digital marketing to children

    Hosted in collaboration with the Health Canada Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion

    The event stemmed from a need identified by Health Canada to establish methods to monitor marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children. The Best Brains Exchange included representatives from Canadian universities, the World Health Organization, provincial health departments, non-governmental organizations working in media literacy, digital advocacy, public health and child obesity; Canadian broadcasters, Heritage Canada, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, Health Canada, including directorates working in tobacco control, cannabis regulation, medical health products, science policy, and nutrition policy and regulation.

    More information on the objectives of this BBE, a summary of the evidence presented and a list of recommended readings.


  • Poverty reduction and development and implementation of best practices

    Hosted in collaboration with the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) Faculty of Nursing, Prince Edward Island Department of Family and Human Services, and the PEI Poverty Reduction Advisory Council.

    In late 2018, the Government of Prince Edward Island (PEI) released the multi-faceted “PEI Poverty Reduction Action Plan”.  To achieve its desired outcomes, partners in PEI initiated a Best Brains Exchange to ensure that a collaborative approach including multiple stakeholders be applied to implement the new Plan.  As such, the BBE showcased leading evidence and best practices to increase knowledge and understanding of important lessons learned from poverty reduction initiatives from other jurisdictions.

    More information on the objectives of this BBE, a summary of the evidence presented and a list of recommended readings.

  • Virtual Care in Mental Health and Addictions

    Hosted in collaboration with Nova Scotia Department of Health and the Wellness Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation

    The Best Brains Exchange (BBE) was designed for researchers, policy makers and other key stakeholders to discuss the enhancement and streamlining of mental health and addiction (MHA) service access through virtual care options that could efficiently and effectively connect clients in underserviced areas with MHA specialized services, throughout Nova Scotia.  The objectives of the BBE were centered on  examining research and implementation evidence from other Canadian and international jurisdictions regarding the integration of virtual care options into MHA community-based treatment practice environments.

    More information on the objectives of this BBE, a summary of the evidence presented and a list of recommended readings.

  • Social Pediatrics: Protecting the rights of the child through collaborative models of care

    Hosted in collaboration with the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF), the NB Department of Health, Vitalité Health Network, Horizon Health Network, the NB Social Paediatrics Research Program, NaviCare/SoinsNavi, the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and the NB SPOR Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI) Network

    The Best Brains Exchange (BBE) brought together a range of senior level government policy makers, researchers and other key stakeholders to understand what integrated complex care services or models of care are currently available in New Brunswick and elsewhere that are aimed at addressing the social determinants of health (SDoH) for children with complex care needs, particularly for those who experience Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)? Discussions were centered on “Social Pediatrics” as a model that offers a multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary approach that simultaneously addresses the SDoH in response to the diverse needs of children and their families.

    More information on the objectives of this BBE, a summary of the evidence presented and a list of recommended readings.


  • Building a Foundation for a Long-Term Care Strategy in Indigenous Communities in Canada

    Hosted in collaboration with Indigenous Services Canada and national Indigenous partners


    • Bonita Beatty, Assistant Professor, Department of Indigenous Studies, College of Arts & Sciences, University of Saskatchewan
    • Réjean Hébert, Dean, School of Public Health, University of Montreal
    • Mabel Horton, Retired Nurse and Health Consultant and Member, CIHR Institute of Indigenous People’s Health Advisory Board
    • A. Paul Williams, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto


    • Patricia Baxter, Consultant
  • The Role of Cannabis for Therapeutic and Medical Purposes

    Hosted in collaboration with the BC Ministry of Health, the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the BC Centre on Substance Use, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health


    • Brian Emerson, Medical Consultant, British Columbia Ministry of Health
    • Tijana Fazlagic, Director, Formulary Management, British Columbia Ministry of Health
    • Philippe Lucas, Vice President, Global Patient Research and Access, Tilray, & Graduate Researcher, Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR)
    • Michael-John Milloy, Epidemiologist and Research Scientist, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, & Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia
    • Marco van de Velde, Head, Office of Medicinal Cannabis, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Netherlands
    • Mark Ware, Associate Professor, Family Medicine and Anesthesia, McGill University


    • Samuel Weiss, Scientific Director, Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research


  • Improving health outcomes for resettled refugees in Ontario

    Hosted in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Refugee Resettlement Secretariat and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.


    • Astrid Guttmann, Staff Paediatrician, Division of Paediatric Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children. Professor, Department of Paediatrics and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
    • Meb Rashid, Crossroads Clinic for Refugees – Women's College Hospital
    • Kwame McKenzie, Co-Director of the Division of Equity Gender and Population in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto
    • Jenny Phillimore, Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS), School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham


    • Erika Di Ruggiero, Director of the Office of Global Public Health Education and Training, University of Toronto


  • Path forward for the Assisted Human Reproduction Act

    Hosted in collaboration with Health Canada’s Health Products and Food Branch.

    The Best Brains Exchange Meeting Report is available: A Path Forward for the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.


    • Françoise Baylis, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy, Dalhousie Medical School, Dalhousie University
    • Mark Evans, Executive Director, Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society 
    • Vanessa Gruben, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
    • Bartha Knoppers, Full Professor, Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy, Faculty of Medicine, Human Genetics, McGill University, Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine
    • Kieran O'Doherty, Assistant Professor, College of Social & Applied Human Sciences, Department of Psychology, University of Guelph


    • Vince Verlaan, Principal at MODUS Planning, Design & Engagement, Department of Continuing Studies, Simon Fraser University


  • Improving population health and system management through Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    Hosted in collaboration with with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC).


    • Zeeshan Syed, Director, Clinical Inference and Algorithms Program at Stanford Health Care and a Clinical Associate Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine
    • Yin Aphinyanaphongs, Director of Clinical Predictive Analytics, MCIT, Director of the Clinical Informatics Training Program, Assistant Professor, Center for Health Innovations and Delivery Science, Department of Population Health, New York University Langone Health
    • Kayvan Najarian, Associate Professor of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    • Michael Schull, Senior Scientist / President and chief executive officer at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, and professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto
    • Niall Brennan, President of Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI)


    • Alison Paprica, Vice President, Health Strategy and Partnerships, Vector Institute
  • Identifying Evidence-Based Models of Care for Children with Complex Needs

    Hosted in collaboration with Health PEI, the University of Prince Edward Island and the Prince Edward Island Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovation Network


    • Joanna Smith, Associate Professor, Child Nursing, School of Healthcare, University of Leeds
    • Jan Willem Gorter, Director of the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Associate Member, School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University
    • Anton R. Miller, Developmental Pediatrician, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
    • Christina D. Bethell, Director, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Professor, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
    • Shelley Doucet, Jarislowsky Chair in Interprofessional Patient-Centred Care; Associate Professor, University of New Brunswick; Adjunct Professor, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick


    • Robyn Tamblyn, Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research


  • Health System Transformation: Adopting & Enabling Innovation in the Public Sector

    Hosted in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation


    • Ryan Androsoff, Digital Government Expert and Innovation Consultant
    • Jerry Koh, Director of Systems Innovation and MaRS Solutions Lab, MaRS Discovery District
    • Pascale Lehoux, Professor, Department of Health Management, Evaluation and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Montreal
    • Sara Gry Steigler, Programme Director, Danish Design Centre.


    • Terrence Sullivan, Professor and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Health Policy, Management & Evaluation, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
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